Simple.TV is the latest in the vicious volley of cable companies screwing us, and us screwing them right back. For those fed up and ready to disavow cable altogether...but bummed about not being able to watch Modern Family or Breaking Bad when they air, Simple.TV will allow you to cut the cable, yet continue to stream live, or DVR, network and basic cable programming. In HD no less. More, Simple.TV's apps allow for program viewing on any screen--TV, computer, laptop, iPad--from anywhere in the world. Watch live or DVR home team games not broadcast locally when you're on the road, catch up on your own town's (or country's) news, view programming not available on network or third party Websites, and retain your right to fast forward through commercials when watching recorded TV.
Simple.TV accesses major networks--ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, PBS--not through a TV, but via an HD antenna or cable input. When attached to one of the two, the device captures live TV, encodes it into variable bit-rate video, and stores it on a USB hard drive that you provide (network attached storage will be supported down the line). Once the feed begins, Simple.TV apps beam shows anywhere from a living room flat screen to an iPad in an Istanbul coffee shop. And up to five family members can enjoy the fruits of its labors simultaneously.
Once the hardware is purchased (Simple.TV box, antenna, and USB hard drive if you don't already have one) basic-level Simple.TV, which includes streaming live HDTV, and manually recording programs, is free for life. Optional app add-ons include a Simple.TV Guide, which gives users access to two weeks of upcoming TV. Search options allow for pinpointing and queuing up favorites and surfing the grid, while advanced programming makes it easy to record a single episode, or entire season of a show. The added cost for this Premier service will be $4.95 a month, $49 for the year, or $199 for the lifetime of the Simple.TV box. Still significantly cheaper than cable, with anticipated savings of $950 over the first year, and $2,050 after two.
CNET recently honored Simple.TV with a Best of CES 2012 award, and creators Mark Ely and Bruce Randall recently launched it as a Kickstarter project to raise production funding. The Kickstarter campaign--and deals on Simple.TV package purchases--runs through June 29, 2012. The mid-level support of $299 returns the Cord Cutter’s Pack, including one Simple.TV DVR with unlimited EPG and remote streaming, Mohu ATSC antenna, a Roku XD, and a T-Shirt. Shipping is included, and begins in August 2012. Lower echelons of support do not include the antenna and Roku, and higher levels come with more Simple.TV boxes. For $399, Ely will personally deliver and hook up your Simple.TV.